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Lecture 5 - HUMA100E Introduction to Sociolinguistics...

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10/2/2010 1 1 HUMA100E Introduction to Sociolinguistics Lecture 5 Quantitative Study of Sociolinguistic Variation 4 October 2010 Prof. Robert S. BAUER Division of Humanities Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 2 Topics for Today’s Lecture Linguistic Theory and the Real World Linguistic Variation Linguistic Variable Linguistic Variant Sociolinguistic Variation Quantitative Sociolinguistics Five Social Factors that Influence Speaker’s Linguistic Behavior 3 Topics for Today’s Lecture Presenting Sociolinguistic Data Linguistic Insecurity Six Stages in Conducting Quantitative a Sociolinguistic Study Labov’s Five Methodological Axioms of Sociolinguistic Research Linguistic Variation and Change Hypercorrection 4 Topics for Today’s Lecture Observer’s Paradox Rapid, Anonymous Interview Dependent and Independent Sociolinguistic Variables Styles of Speaking Style-shifting Free (linguistic) Variation Conditioned (linguistic) Variation Unconditioned (linguistic) Variation 5 Linguistic Theory According to Noam Chomsky “Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener , in a completely homogeneous speech- community , who knows its language perfectly . . .” Noam Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1968:3) (emphasis added) 6 Language in the Real World The ideal speaker-listener and the completely homogeneous speech- community are convenient abstractions that suit the purposes of a theoretical linguist. However, they do not exist in the real world. If we were to accept the limitation imposed by the Chomskyan view of language, then we could neither recognize nor study the very real, everyday phenomenon of linguistic variation, and there would be no field called sociolinguistics.
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10/2/2010 2 7 Sociolinguistics and Linguistic Variation As we said at the beginning of this semester, sociolinguistics is basically about studying the speaker’s two or more ways of saying the same thing , that is, linguistic variation . On one occasion the speaker pronounces a word one way or uses a particular word or syntactic pattern, while on some other occasion s/he uses a different pronunciation, word, or syntactic pattern, yet the meaning associated with each of these variant linguistic items is essentially the same. Where does linguistic variation come from? Answer : Differences (= variations) in speakers’ linguistic knowledge influence their linguistic behavior. Generalization from Lecture #1 : No two people who think of themselves as speaking the same language possess exactly the same knowledge of that language, because they do not have the same experiences of their language. This statement applies even to siblings growing up in the same family. 8 9 Sociolinguistic Variation This is the social distribution of linguistic variation within the speech community.
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